JOURNAL/ Live Well / Travel Well/2019

Quality of life series

Design that celebrates a better way of life

Our need to find quality of life in the everyday is constantly increasing. We’ve come to realise that living well is no longer confined to high days and holidays, it is essential to our daily urban life.

Bates Smart's unrivalled hospitality design experience enables us to layer design thinking and practice to create better places for people. Here we present some of our latest integrated hotel projects designed to help us live well and travel well.

Our need to find quality of life in the everyday is constantly increasing. We’ve come to realise that living well is no longer confined to high days and holidays, it is essential to our daily urban life.

Bates Smart's unrivalled hospitality design experience enables us to layer design thinking and practice to create better places for people. Here we present some of our latest integrated hotel projects designed to help us live well and travel well.


Roxy-Pacific brings The Park Hotel to Melbourne

 “Bates Smart has been the perfect partner to grow our vision for the property, in which we aspire to be the market leader for 4-star hotels in Melbourne CBD”

Ben Hopkins

Managing Director, Roxy-Pacific Australia & NZ

Australia’s first Park Hotel is set to arrive in the heart of Melbourne by the end of 2021. Bates Smart is partnering with leading hospitality group, Roxy-Pacific, to deliver the 23 storey building with integrated interiors. The hotel will include 319 guest rooms and suites, a lobby lounge, a signature restaurant and rooftop bar.

Bates Smart Director, Cian Davis explains that the concept acknowledges the site which was formally an industrial heart and gateway to the historic horse stable and livestock auction sale yard, Kirk’s Bazaar.

“We have respected the urban context and character of the location that is surrounded by warehouse frontages. The site will be transformed and the façade will reinterpret the beautiful old red brickwork of the streetscape.

“We have designed the interior to complement the architectural approach and site context, drawing Melbourne’s café and street culture into the building to offer guests an authentic local neighbourhood experience.”

The interiors palette offers an engaging ambience for guests with the craft and materiality of the laneway brought within. In acknowledging the site’s equine past, horse saddlery accents have also been incorporated via soft leathers, blacksmith-inspired metal accents are introduced, along with timber and rich tobacco-coloured textures.

The commercial ingenuity of the new Park Hotel is the integration of the local food and beverage space, located at the basement level, that will be run by an independent operator.

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Little National Hotel | Smart, luxurious design on a small CBD footprint

Sydney’s Little National to turn the traditional hotel model on its head

The Little National Hotel Sydney will offer “small rooms and a big experience”, combining a prime inner-city location with smart luxurious design and premium amenity spaces at a very competitive price point.

The latest venture by DOMA Group places the 12-storey hotel development in the airspace above the Wynyard Walk entry and takes inspiration from New York’s iconic Flat Iron building. The hotel’s glass façade provides the guest rooms with full height and width picture windows and is defined on the exterior by horizontal spandrels that fold around the building’s curved corners to form a continuous sunshade and privacy shelf. This horizontal expression is sympathetic to the existing station entry below and neighbouring Transport House.

The lift lobby offers a sense of intrigue with soft furnishings, dark tones and a 6m high space that is entered from the street via a custom copper door - a subtle reference to the copper tones of the façade elements. All 230 rooms are finely tuned to follow a single, compact 18sqm room type with memorable details such as the unique arrival experience. As guests enter, recessed lighting fades on to reveal a super king size bed that has proved so popular at the Little National Canberra Hotel that they are available for purchase.

Integral to the Little National Hotel guest experience are the premium social spaces. The rooftop level is set back from the street to read as a lightweight pavilion and houses the bar, generous lounge areas, an intimate library / workspace and an outdoor terrace that is landscaped to evoke a lush ‘secret garden.'

The Little National Hotel Sydney is currently under construction and due to launch in May 2020. It is one of two Little National Hotels integrating the architectural and interior design by Bates Smart.

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Brenton Smith and Mary MacKillop on curating a unique design journey


 “We dig for the potential in each project to give a unique storytelling experience”

Mary Mackillop

Associate Director

Brenton Smith and Mary MacKillop talk about the process undertaken to craft hospitality spaces that are engaging at a human scale, highly functional from an operational perspective and celebrate the casual luxury that Australia does so well.

"We approach each project as a unique storytelling experience. We spend a lot of time digging into the site context, the local neighbourhood and materiality. These spaces are no longer defined by one activity: they become blended spaces to work, socialise, drink or dine," says Mary MacKillop. Watch this short film to find out more.


The CityShapers Interview Series | Neil Maxwell M&L Hospitality

 “Our hotels have soul, if you are staying in Melbourne you need to know you are in Melbourne ”

Neil Maxwell

CEO, M&L Hospitality

Strong designs and client relationships involve a lot of conversation. Often, these discussions remain private, off paper, but they’re rife with ideas that shape our design responses and ultimately the built environment. We are launching our City Shaper interviews in order to share more of this thinking and the insights that underpin the buildings, interiors and spaces that we design.

In the first of the series, Bates Smart Interior Design Director Brenton Smith talks to Neil Maxwell, CEO of leading international hospitality real estate investment platform, M&L Hospitality.

Celebrating a decade of investment in hotels, M&L Hospitality have built up a portfolio of properties across Asia Pacific and Europe. Brenton sat down with Neil and discussed the strategy behind M&L Hospitality’s success. We’ve boiled that conversation down to three key points.

Brenton Smith: Each hotel has to have its own DNA. I think there has been a generational shift - travellers are much more interested in authenticity.

Neil Maxwell: We try to give our hotels personality, and to be aspirational and think about what a hotel can be. We work closely with designers to look at the space, the heritage and the context before we bring in the operator. Operators can give a lot of input, as they are seeing what works and new ideas across the world, but each hotel has to have its own sense of identity.

I like to think our hotels have soul. If you are staying in Melbourne you need to know you are in Melbourne through the feel of the hotel, and the same with Brussels, Amsterdam and so forth. Something has to speak of Amsterdam, it’s not just about the brand. You can go to some hotels and forget where you are in the world.

BS: As a guest, if your room really does everything you want it to do, then the room size is not that important.

NM: It comes down to a clever room design, incorporating practical elements like a great bed and shower and fast WiFi.

We do tend to spend money on our hotels more frequently than our peers. We need to do this to remain relevant. Changing a carpet is not a refurbishment, it’s product maintenance. We keep a dynamic in our portfolio by measuring a hotel’s relevance to its locality. We want to give people a reason to keep coming back. Sometimes that means changing the brand and repositioning.

The hotel choice out there is exponential, so it’s all about planning, planning, planning and execution. We put a lot of time into this—it has to be seamless.

Food and beverage spaces are often key. We are firm believers in independent operators to allow a bar to flourish, have its own personality and to broaden the audience. Initially we built up the Zephyr Bar in the Hyatt Regency as a standalone to the hotel brand. It’s positioned high up on the skyline. We made sure we designed it from the barman’s point of view and what we wanted to see in the bar for the customer, not the operator. It’s been highly successful for the past few years and a really great example of our approach.

BS: We don’t believe in highly segmented profiling of what each type of traveller would want.

NM: None of us know our guests that well. I think sometimes, in an attempt to understand everything that a customer wants, the point of what they need can be missed. This can actually be quite simple but it has to been done really well. Your customers will tell you immediately through social media if your offering is wrong.

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Jeff Copolov, Designing for a holistic experience


 “The experience of a space is not just visual, you can imbue a lot of qualities through all the senses ”

Jeffery Copolov

Director, Bates Smart

How does the hotelier stay ahead when travel today is anything but standardized? “In order to create a memorable guest experience you have to focus on the finer details,” says Bates Smart Interior Design Director Jeff Copolov.

Jeff participated in the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) in Sydney last month. Leaders from the Ovolo Group, Artyzen Hospitality Group and StayWell Prince Hotels joined Jeff in a discussion session named: “Putting the Style in Lifestyle – What Defines the Category and How to Differentiate”. The panel set out to mine for the finer details that distinguish and elevate the guest experience. A consistent narrative emerged around the thoughtful and textural details that differentiate, such as linen sheets and designer soaps, combined with elements of the unexpected and evidence of the human touch to ultimately reframe luxury beyond sheer aesthetics.

In this short film Jeff Copolov explains Bates Smart's holistic approach to interior design appealing to all the senses.

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Canberra Hotel | the capital's newest work / dine / stay precinct

refined vs raw: striking a material counterbalance

Constitution Place is set to become one of Canberra’s most vibrant urban commercial, hotel and dining precincts. Combining a network of fine grain public spaces, an activated eat street, premium grade office space and the new headquarters of the ACT Government, Constitution Place will also be home to a new Canberra Hotel.

The Canberra Hotel will take up residence in the taller and more monumental of the two buildings that make up Constitution Place. The refined façade is expressed with fine, charcoal grey fins that speak of verticality, providing guests privacy from the bustling Lyric Lane below and shading to the west and north-east elevations of the hotel. Guests will be greeted with a heavy material counterpoint to the exterior when entering the hotel’s ground floor lobby, a space that celebrates the rawness of travertine with a saturation of the hero material in various textures. This raw materiality extends into corridors and all 132 hotel rooms with exposed pre-cast concrete walls and in-situ concrete ceilings.

The Canberra Hotel will boast generous room sizes with a mixture of studio, 1 bed and 2 bed apartments. The design thinking for the guest rooms evokes a box-within-a-box concept with a layered procession of spaces housed within concrete walls and timber joinery – from the living area, to the bedroom, and finishing with the calacatta marble feature in the bathroom. Apartments take advantage of the unique floorplate geometry to offer panoramic views across Vernon Circle and Lake Burley Griffin. The building is designed to achieve a 5 Star NABERS Energy Rating and WELLs Gold Rating for the Canberra Hotel.

Constitution Place is the third major project that Bates Smart has undertaken with Canberra Airport Group, and the second hotel with integrated architecture and interiors following Canberra Airport Hotel in 2015. Construction on the Constitution Place Canberra Hotel is due for completion in mid-2020.

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